Monday, January 3, 2011

Art De Vany: The New Evolution Diet

Reading Nassim Taleb's Fooled by Randomness in the spring of 2007, I came across the name of Art De Vany, the author of Hollywood Economics. Taleb mentioned it in his book because it addressed the issue of the difficulty of predicting winning movies. De Vany, an academic economist, talks about power laws, stochastic events, complexity, etc. in that academic work. Taleb noted in passing that De Vany also applied these principles to fitness. I checked it out on the web and discovered De Vany's web site, which I've read off and on since that time. Now, he has out his book. It was worth the wait.

De Vany argues that we will benefit greatly from aspects of the environment that human beings evolved in during the paleolithic age. Put most simply, a diet of meat, nuts, vegetables, and not much else. No grain or dairy, not to mention sugar. And as for exercise: brief bursts of intense exercise with lots of rest in between. Now mind you, De Vany isn't a cave man--he writes a blog and is a retired academic! Indeed, his back story provides an interesting lead up to his recommendations. He was a minor league baseball player before becoming an academic economist. His son and then his wife developed type 1 diabetes (so-called juvenile diabetes), which led him to learn all that he could about the physiology of insulin and how it affects the body. He applied his know-how as an economist to consider the body, and he drew on evolutionary studies to get a sense of how the body evolved. This places him in the lead of the growing area of Paleolithic fitness,diet, and health thinking (with others such as Mark Sisson, Rob Wolff, Erwan Le Corre, etc.)

This is an excellent and thought-provoking book. The guy knows whereof he speaks (as an academic he can read the professional literature, but since it's not his professional field, he doesn't have to kow-tow to anyone.)

BTW, Nassim Taleb, who has since adopted a De Vany-like fitness regimen, authored an Afterward for the book.

To your health!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...


Nicely done. I was born in Davenport, Iowa.

Art De Vany